Pennsylvania Budget Impasse 2009: Part 3

Note:  This is part of a series of posts detailing the 2009 Pennsylvania budget impasse.  To see all posts in this series, click here.

Pennsylvania’s annual budget impasse (2009 edition) is well underway.  Today, June 30th, is the deadline for a budget to be passed as per state law.  Naturally, our legislature and governor are all too busy having a pissing match to be bothered to actually do their jobs.  But they’ve all found plenty of time to spread a lot of misinformation.  Despite what Governor Rendell might suggest, AFSCME’s 2008 lawsuit did not declare that state employees must not be paid.  Here’s why:

Continue reading Pennsylvania Budget Impasse 2009: Part 3

Metro Bank Harrisburg: The Response, Again

For the past ten days, former Commerce Bank customers have been experiencing — and documenting — epic levels of frustration over the bank’s badly-botched changeover to Metro Bank (Central PA). What has happened is a painful lesson in why every business needs to not only employ talented PR professionals, but remain in a constant two-way dialogue with its employees.  Comments from employees and/or alleged employees posted here run the gamut from the apologetic to the obscene, with most leaning towards the latter.

And I’m not the only one who noticed.

Since the first post ten days ago, the Metro Bank reviews have been read just over 12,000 times and clocked in just shy of 200 comments.  Search engine terms like “Metro Bank Harrisburg” and “Metro Bank complaints” (and my personal favorite, “Metro Bank sucks”) brought in just under 800 views.  Referrals from media outlets such as PennLive and The Consumerist brought in 2715 views.  While it is impossible to say exactly how many unique individuals viewed the site, those numbers alone are staggering.

Continue reading Metro Bank Harrisburg: The Response, Again

Pennsylvania Budget Impasse ’09: Part II

Note:  This is part of a series of posts detailing the 2009 Pennsylvania budget impasse.  To see all posts in this series, click here.

An anonymous source just forwarded me a very interesting email concerning Pennsylvania’s threat to require its employees to work with delayed pay.  While it’s already been fairly well established that federal labor law will apply, our Governor and our legislature seem to think that it does not.  I can not fathom why they would put Pennsylvania taxpayers on the hook for hundreds of millions of dollars in civil damages by breaking the law.

At any rate, the US Department of Labor — the federal agency tasked with enforcing the Fair Labor Standards Act — seems to disagree with them.  And Garcia v. San Antonio Metropolitan Transit Authority (469 U.S. 528 (1985)), decided almost a quarter century ago, says that government workers are, in fact, protected by the FLSA.

Continue reading Pennsylvania Budget Impasse ’09: Part II

Metro Bank Harrisburg: A Review

As the first week of Metro Bank Harrisburg (formerly Commerce Bank) draws to a close, I’m still hearing from people who are having trouble with their bank accounts.  If your problems haven’t yet been fixed, or if you experience any strange account “changes”, please follow the complaint information documented above.

A lot of alleged Metro Bank employees have been contributing to this series.  Some good, some bad.  A number of other bloggers, podcasters, journalists, and Tweeps have been linking and re-linking to this site, which has driven my traffic through the roof.  As of 12:30am on Friday 6/19/09, over 4600 hits have come in on the Metro Bank posts alone.  I don’t know Metro Bank’s customer tally, but 4600 customers or potential customers is certainly a noteworhty amount.  So a big “thank you” to everyone who’s been helping to bring attention to this matter!

Continue reading Metro Bank Harrisburg: A Review

Having Problems With Metro Bank?

I just got off the phone with the Pennsylvania Department of Banking.  They called me back in reference to the complaint I filed yesterday.  They are responding in a very pro-consumer manner to this mess and are very interested in what you have to say.

If your Metro Bank account is not straightened out as of right this instant, please contact the PA Department of Banking immediately using this link. As always, remember to remain calm and professional.  We’re all frustrated and angry (and rightfully so), but remember that the Dept of Banking is here to help you.  They have the power to set things right, and if that can’t be done, they have the power to punish Metro Bank.

UPDATE: As of 6/19/09, Metro Bank’s CEO is stating that the “glitches” have been fixed and everything is back to normal.  Interestingly, he’s also stating that affected customers are being contacted by phone or email to let them know what happened.  This is a dramatic change from earlier in the week, when they attempted to sweep their issues under the rug with silence.  It’s pretty obvious that Metro Bank’s change in attitude is a direct result of the avalanche of negative PR that’s kept them buried all week.  While it’s good to see them finally starting to take responsibility for their poor planning and poor execution, it’s disturbing that they regarded “give customers the silent treatment” as their best option.

UPDATE #2: As of 7/5/09, commenters are still reporting problems with Metro Bank.  By now, all problems should have been resolved (actually, they should have been resolved by June 13th, but that obviously didn’t happen).  If you are still having trouble, contact the Pennsylvania Department of Banking immediately.  And while you’re at it, consider switching to a bank that knows how to treat its customers.